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SubjectRe: [PATCH RFC 0/5] fs, ext4: Physical blocks placement hint for fallocate(0): fallocate2(). TP defrag.
On Mar 3, 2020, at 2:57 AM, Kirill Tkhai <> wrote:
> On 02.03.2020 19:56, Theodore Y. Ts'o wrote:
>> Kirill,
>> In a couple of your comments on this patch series, you mentioned
>> "defragmentation". Is that because you're trying to use this as part
>> of e4defrag, or at least, using EXT4_IOC_MOVE_EXT?
>> If that's the case, you should note that input parameter for that
>> ioctl is:
>> struct move_extent {
>> __u32 reserved; /* should be zero */
>> __u32 donor_fd; /* donor file descriptor */
>> __u64 orig_start; /* logical start offset in block for orig */
>> __u64 donor_start; /* logical start offset in block for donor */
>> __u64 len; /* block length to be moved */
>> __u64 moved_len; /* moved block length */
>> };
>> Note that the donor_start is separate from the start of the file that
>> is being defragged. So you could have the userspace application
>> fallocate a large chunk of space for that donor file, and then use
>> that donor file to defrag multiple files if you want to close pack
>> them.
> The practice shows it's not so. Your suggestion was the first thing we tried,
> but it works bad and just doubles/triples IO.
> Let we have two files of 512Kb, and they are placed in separate 1Mb clusters:
> [[512Kb file][512Kb free]][[512Kb file][512Kb free]]
> We want to pack both of files in the same 1Mb cluster. Packed together on block
> device, they will be in the same server of underlining distributed storage file
> system. This gives a big performance improvement, and this is the price I aimed.
> In case of I fallocate a large hunk for both of them, I have to move them
> both to this new hunk. So, instead of moving 512Kb of data, we will have to move
> 1Mb of data, i.e. double size, which is counterproductive.
> Imaging another situation, when we have
> [[1020Kb file]][4Kb free]][[4Kb file][1020Kb free]]
> Here we may just move [4Kb file] into [4Kb free]. But your suggestion again
> forces us to move 1Mb instead of 4Kb, which makes IO 256 times worse! This is
> terrible! And this is the thing I try prevent with finding a new interface.

One idea I had, which may work for your use case, is to run fallocate() on
the *1MB-4KB file* to allocate the last 4KB in that hunk, then use that block
as the donor file for the 1MB+4KB file. The ext4 allocation algorithms should
always give you that 4KB chunk if it is free, and that avoids the need to try
and force the allocator to select that block through some other method.

Cheers, Andreas

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